Posted: Aug 31, 2009 12:21 PM by MSNBC
A strengthening Hurricane Jimena roared toward Mexico's resort-studded Baja California Peninsula on Monday, prompting emergency workers to set up makeshift shelters and chasing away an international finance conference.
Jimena, a dangerous Category 4 storm, could rake the region - a harsh desert fringed with picturesque beaches and fishing villages - by Tuesday evening, forecasters said.
At least 10,000 families will be evacuated from potential flood zones, said Francisco Cota, the local director of Civil Protection. He said 60 shelters would be set up.
"I think it's going to be a substantial hurricane by the time it approaches," said Richard Pasch of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
A spokesman for the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information said it decided Monday to move the conference - including more than 170 representatives from 54 countries - to Mexico City, even though some delegates had already arrived in Los Cabos.
"The meeting has been planned for two months and the meteorological conditions, by their very nature, are unpredictable," said conference spokesman Anthony Gooch.
Los Cabos Mayor Oscar Nunez said people in poorly constructed homes face "a huge potential risk" right now and they may be forced to evacuate.